Cut|Color|Post

excerpts, quips, and musings on the production and post-production industry, and other stuff of interest

HBO Goes Over The Top

HBO announced Wednesday that it would start a stand-alone Internet streaming service in the United States in 2015 that would not require a subscription to a traditional television service, a move that intensifies the premium cable network’s growing rivalry with Netflix.

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“The tech companies of the world have turned it on faster and better,” said Jeffrey L. Bewkes, the chief executive of HBO’s parent Time Warner. “We have also had to say today, we’re also going to do it.”

Several details for HBO’s new service remain to be worked out, including what content is available, the subscription fee and the distribution models. HBO now makes its programming available over the web to paying TV subscribers through its HBO Go service. Executives said that the content available through its new online-only offering would be similar. HBO is unlikely to undercut the $15 monthly rate viewers pay to cable or satellite companies for a subscription to the service, executives said.

The question intensifies: Can HBO become like Netflix sooner than Netflix can become like HBO? Netflix pushed into HBO's territory with original series like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Hemlock Grove, Lilyhammer, and others. HBO now responds to Netflix by going direct to customers with a subscription (read: Netflix) plan.

I still wonder if they charge $15/month will they restrict access to older content, thereby giving the traditional HBO subscription through a telco some legitimacy for existence. Color me disappointed if they charge $15/month for just new releases or "some" of HBO's content.

More information regarding HBO's announcement from Re/code

When Will HEVC See Industry Adoption

“Therefore, there will be no single date for when the industry will officially ‘adopt’ HEVC. It will roll out over several years, and it could be beyond 2018 or 2019 before [it becomes] fully ubiquitous. That is not an official date, just my best guess, based on what I’m seeing and past experience. In particular application spaces, such as video over the Internet, we already are starting to see it happen with software encoding. However, it won’t be a complete or meaningful rollout until it is in the hardware for market applications such as traditional broadcast over direct-broadcast satellite, cable TV, and terrestrial, where highest picture quality at lower bit rates are required, and for UHD content to the consumer. These rollouts take longer.”

I think after 2019 is a good guess for when h.265 starts to become ubiquitous (though the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will feature h.265 encode/decode for FaceTime, see tech specs under "Video Calling"). The software for content creators has to begin incorporating it, and then consumer devices have to incorporate a h.265 decoder processor on their devices - TV, cell phone, tablet, game console, etc. And until HEVC gains significant consumer-level device traction you can bet there will be minimal consumer-level adoption of 4K/UHD. 



Everyone in the TV Business Should be Reevaluating How Important the Broadcast Business Is

“Everyone in the TV business should be reevaluating how important the broadcast business is,” media analyst Rich Greenfield told me this week in a post-Emmys discussion. “Everyone sees that behavior is changing. Either you should be exiting the TV business, or driving reverse retrans fees dramatically higher – taking dollars from the TV stations.”

While hyperbolic there's still a nugget of truth contained in here. Broadcast viewership tends to be declining, but this trend isn't linear, meaning it can change. The cries about broadcast or cable dying seem reminiscent of pundits decrying the end of cinema because TV was invented. Cinema didn't dye or fade to black, it adapted to the culture and became something different. I fully expect broadcast and cable TV to do the same in the face of mobile users and incumbent Internet giants—Netflix, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Apple.


If You Don't Like The Apple Watch Don't Buy One

Best advice I've read regarding the Apple watch (which could be applied to virtually any product):

Since yesterday’s Apple announcement of the Apple Watch (or Watch or just Watch) I have seen a cavalcade of arguments against the device. This is to be expected. I’ll grant you, Apple isn’t fighting against a bunch of crappy smartphones. This isn’t some huge problem to solve, it’s more like a smoothing out of rough edges in one’s life. In a way, the benefits of Apple Watch are nuanced. This is good.


Adobe Doubles Down on Lightroom

Put simply we’re doubling down on our investments in Lightroom and the new Creative Cloud Photography plan and you can expect to see a rich roadmap of rapid innovation for desktop, web and device workflows in the coming weeks, months and years. We also continue to invest actively on the iOS and OSX platforms, and are committed to helping interested iPhoto and Aperture customers migrate to our rich solution across desktop, device and web workflows.

As I mentioned earlier, if you're not an Adobe Creative Cloud user for Lightroom/Photoshop there's never been a better time to start.


4K is Gonna Have to Wait

Until H.265/HEVC patens gets sorted out and then implemented into software encoding engines, UHD won't be going anywhere. Michael Grotticelli writing for Creative Planet Network:

While it had been hoped that a patent pool license for the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC, aka, H.265) compression scheme would be available from licensing body MPEG LA by now, encoder/decoder vendors that required this patented technology to build their products are still waiting.

4K is currently only for post-production uses - tracking, stabilizing, pan/scan, and mastering. Until there's a way to deliver to the end user efficiently, not destroying data caps in the process, UHD won't see the light of the TV screen.


Consumers Prefer Content Consumption on Their Own Terms

And in other non-shocking news reports:

No longer bound to a set TV schedule, U.S. consumers continue to choose when and where they want to watch the shows they love most, even if it's not at the exact time the program provider wants them to.

So let me get this straight: consumers want to watch what they want, where they want, and when they want? Film at 11.